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Ragtime in Simla (Joe Sandilands #2)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,081 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
Simla 1922. While the rest of India bakes in the hot season, up in the pine-scented coolness of the Himalayan hills the English have recreated a vision of home. Here are half-timbered houses, amateur theatricals, gymkhanas and a glittering vice-regal court for the socialites. The summer capital of the British Raj is fizzing with the energy of the jazz age. It is toward thi ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Dell
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BrokenTune
Jul 01, 2015 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
3.5*

This is not much of a review, but I'm having some time on my hands and thought I'd update some posts.

I picked up Ragtime in Simla a few years ago when work took me northern India. I travelled with a colleague who was going to stay for the same period and we decided to plan a trip to Shimla over the weekend. Of course, being way too busy with exploring and work, I never had a chance to read the book - not even on the plane - which is why it ended on my TBR pile for a couple of years.

Having n
...more
Madhulika Liddle
1922. Commander Joe Sandilands, of Scotland Yard but currently in India, accepts an offer to be a guest at the Simla residence of the Acting Governor of Bengal. On his way from Kalka to Simla in the car the Governor’s sent from him, Sandilands gives a lift to a famous singer: the Russian baritone, Feodor Korsovsky, who is on his way to perform at Simla’s Gaiety Theatre. Even before they can get to Simla, however, Korsovsky is dead, killed in the car by an unseen sniper.

Sandilands, determined to
...more
Stuart
Mar 23, 2015 Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, indian
This is the second Joe Sandilands book, set, like the first, in 1920’s colonial India, with echoes back to World War 1. It was an improvement on the first, though not without its flaws. First though, how could you resist a book with the title “Ragtime in Simla”? What a very evocative title!
Anyway, as the book begins, Joe is once again getting ready to sail back to Blighty, but first he is offered a month’s holiday in Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where the Raj goes to avoid the summe
...more
Susan
Ragtime in Simla by Barbara Cleverly is the second book of the Detective Joe Sandilands mystery series set in 1920s India. Once again Joe is working for George Jardine. I found it curious that George’s niece Nancy was never mentioned even in passing, since Joe and Nancy worked closely together to solve a series of murders in the first book, The Last Kashmiri Rose. I also found it odd that Joe’s scar made an erroneous first impression twice in this second book; the first book just briefly mention ...more
Jacqie
Aug 31, 2015 Jacqie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The best thing about this mystery was the setting. I didn't know much about Simla, the summer seat of British power in colonial-era India. It sounds like a fascinating place to visit.

The characters didn't enthrall me. Joe Sandilands seemed easily sidetracked by pretty women, and the dialogue was prone to many exclamation points. It didn't engage me enough to read any more books in the series.
Lawyer
Jan 17, 2010 Lawyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second installment of the Sandilands chronicles is as entertaining as the first. There may even be a few more twists and turns in this second tale. Sandilands can't seem to make it out of India. The wily Sir George Jardine pulls the Scotland Yard Commander into another murder investigation--the brother of an heiress to a East India company has been shot by a sniper. As Sandilands enters the picture he meets a renowned Russian tenor who is set to perform at the Gaiety Theatre in Simla. And th ...more
Donna
Feb 23, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2014
This is really an excellent series. The descriptions of the places are wonderful and I love the intricate plots that are not obvious at all. This one has Joe thinking he's taking a month off in the summer highland area of Simla but instead he is called on to solve two murders that took place a year apart.
Mary Miley
Jul 15, 2014 Mary Miley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having returned last year from a long trip to India, I was eager to read a novel set in the area I had visited. Of course, the story takes place in the 1920s, so nothing would look the same; still, it is always fun to have a connection to a book's setting.
Barbara Cleverly writes a classic mystery in Ragtime in Simla. She sets up a murder early on and then we find virtually every character in the book a suspect. And just when the reader thinks she has pinpointed the killer, the story turns off i
...more
Penny
Oct 15, 2012 Penny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in the Joe Sandilands series - Joe is on leave in Simla before returning to England. On his journey up from the plains his pleasant companion, a Russian opera singer is shot dead by a sniper. This sweeps from Simla to Marseille to Delhi and Afghanstan - very convoluted and unexpected - wont spoil the ending !!
Tia
Jul 31, 2010 Tia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I should have given this 3 stars because it was slow moving and easy to figure out most of the "mystery", but the setting and the time frame were so interesting. I think this would make a good movie and Tom Ford could do the costumes!
Marilyn
Aug 07, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in the India series by Cleverly, and I enjoyed it as I did the first. One of the problems of writing a series has to be the settling in of the characters that you introduced in the first book. There was some slight changes and emphases from the first book which I put down to Cleverly getting to know her hero better. The sense of place was particularly wonderful as an introduction of India. It was a complex plot and the protagonist gets pulled in believing he is on vacation, bu ...more
Jean Hontz
Mar 10, 2013 Jean Hontz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The British Raj just after WW1. An assassination. Or two? And why would anyone assassinate an opera singer. Or were they aiming for the detective sitting next to him?
Annelie Rozeboom
This is the second book I've read in this series of murder mysteries in India in the 1920's. Light and entertaining.
Marie
Feb 01, 2013 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Sandilands has cemented his place on my list of favorite detectives.
Beth
Mar 17, 2014 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-fun, 2014
This is the second book in the Joe Sandilands series, and is as evocative and interesting as the first, The Last Kashmiri Rose. In this installment, Sandilands is drawn into another unsolved murder case, this time in Simla. While I found Sandilands' tendency to let strong, beautiful women get away with all sorts of mayhem to be a bit grating, I liked this as much as the first book and plan on continuing with the series.
Sorcha
Simla 1922. While the rest of India bakes in the hot season, up in the pine-scented coolness of the Himalayan hills the English have recreated a vision of home. Here are half-timbered houses, amateur theatricals, gymkhanas and a glittering vice-regal court for the socialites. The summer capital of the British Raj is fizzing with the energy of the jazz age. It is toward this country that detective Joe Sandilands is heading as the guest of the governor of Bengal. But when Joe's travelling companio ...more
Denise
It was great to read a Joe Sandilands story. It has been a while since I read the first one in the series but I was happy to find this copy at my local library. Once again, Barbara Cleverly has woven a spider's web of deception, intrigue, and murder. I kept trying to determine how the story would end and while I had some parts correct, other elements totally surprised me.
Most of this book’s actions take place in Simla in 1922 India. Joe thinks he is getting a vacation offered by Sir George Jardi
...more
Suzy
I learned about this book from my Page-a-Day book calendar. It sounded interesting and was. It's book 2 of a series featuring Joe Sandilands, of Scotland Yard, and takes place right after World War 1 in India during the Raj. Joe, a WWI veteran, has been working in Bombay and is looking forward to taking a month off in Simla where people from Bombay go in the summer to escape the heat -- it's in the foothills of the Himalayas. Since this is a mystery series, of course he doesn't find the R&R ...more
LJ
RAGTIME IN SIMLA – VG
Barbara Cleverly
Scotland Yard Commander Joseph Sandilands, a World War I hero, has accepted an invitation to spend his vacation at the guesthouse of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal in Simla, the summer capital of the British Raj. A noted Russian opera singer who will be performing there shares a ride with him from the train station in the governor's car. As they climb the steep mountain road, a sniper kills the singer and Sandilands' vacation turns into an investigation. W
...more
Elli
Apr 27, 2012 Elli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simla is in far north India and was really frontier during the British rule of India, the time zone in which this story was to have taken place. Joe Sandilands is the detective. But all the characters are very real and the reader gets to know them and identify with them as well as well as having strong feelings about some. The story begins with a train trip from which a number of passengers are foreigners who are now in India and are on their way going through India to their destinations. And th ...more
Jean.
Mar 07, 2016 Jean. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Cleverly's stories keep guessing me until the end. I love this quality since mysteries are a favorite genre and too many authors broadcast the culprit just a few chapters into the book. Her character development is superior to a number of other writers. I have read this series out of order and place the main character of the series, Joe Sandilands, among one of my favorite fictional characters.
Lesley
Not as interesting as I'd hoped, especially with regards to the setting. It is well-written and I found myself really enjoying that from the beginning; the mystery is also very intriguing (though it began to pall at the very end). But the main female characters and their past are too bawdy, Joe Sandilands too susceptible, and there is some language, so not sure I will try another in the series.
Ryan
Oct 22, 2011 Ryan rated it it was ok
Shelves: colonial, fiction
Slightly disappointing is this one, the second of the author's books I read, after the excellent 'Palace Tiger'. Don't get me wrong, its still a very good mystery thriller set against the backdrop of colonial India, with the usual well researched cultural references of the time, from women's fashion and jazz to weaponry and machinery. The plot is as usual very complex with endless twists and turns till the very end, compelling one to read on just to find out if the culprit gets captured. But it ...more
Miss Lemon
Jun 03, 2016 Miss Lemon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first one I read of Barbara's (though it's second in the series) hooked me with excellent writing - not weighed down or convaluted but detailed enough to keep you very involved in the ways of the Raj and the English who ran it all.
Denise Tarasuk
Jan 11, 2015 Denise Tarasuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Ragtime in Simla was excellent and a real page turner. Having been to India many times I felt like I was back again! Barbara Cleverly is a beautiful writer that fills the page with just enough details to make sure, me, the reader, knows exactly where I am in Simla, the smells, and the mood. I am really loving this series! The characters are wonderful and cleverly interwoven!
Rhonda Pickens
Apr 07, 2016 Rhonda Pickens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really enjoying this new series. The characters are good, but the real appeal is the sense of place - in this case, the British Colonial India hill station of Simla.
Patti K
Feb 28, 2016 Patti K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another complicated plot that takes the reader to a town near
the Himalayas in British India. A stolen identity, greed, a brothel,
arms trading, and seduction are all here. Light, but enjoyable.
jane andraka
Oct 03, 2014 jane andraka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Number 2

Love these books- always twists and turns that surprise and interesting characters
off to buy number three and see what's next!
Kellie
(#2 in the Joe Sandilands Series)-This was OK. There was something missing. Although, I can’t put my finger on it. Joe is summoned back to Simla (from London) by Sir George. There are 2 unsolved murders and George wants Joe to help Charlie solve them. There are a lot of twists and turns. Cleaverly does a good job with describing history and Simla, India. That is very interesting. The murder plot is also interesting and mistaken identities and dangerous people change variably through out the stor ...more
Turi
Feb 23, 2014 Turi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Cleverly is a great mystery writer. Things surprising me right up to the end. And this book was set in Simla, India - during the British Raj, so it just couldn't get much better for me!
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Barbara Cleverly was born in the north of England and is a graduate of Durham University. A former teacher, she has spent her working life in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk; she now lives in Cambridge. She has one son and five step-children.

Her Joe Sandilands series of books set against the background of the British Raj was inspired by the contents of a battered old tin trunk that she found in her att
...more
More about Barbara Cleverly...

Other Books in the Series

Joe Sandilands (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Last Kashmiri Rose (Joe Sandilands, #1)
  • The Damascened Blade (Joe Sandilands, #3)
  • The Palace Tiger (Joe Sandilands, #4)
  • The Bee's Kiss (Joe Sandilands, #5)
  • Tug of War (Joe Sandilands, #6)
  • Folly Du Jour (Joe Sandilands, #7)
  • Strange Images of Death (Joe Sandilands, #8)
  • The Blood Royal (Joe Sandilands #9)
  • Not My Blood (Joe Sandilands #10)
  • A Spider in the Cup (Joe Sandilands #11)

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